Mstation Book Reviews
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Wed, 01 Oct 2008

Desert Island Music

ed. Griel Marcus, Stranded Da Capo Press

It turns out that the lack of literate writing about contemporary music is not a new thing at all. And I don't mean the coverage of the art fringe which is usually more pretentious than actually literate. In the preface to this book mentions the difficulty of finding a place for quality writing circa the late 70's.

The idea here is the desert island disc thing - which one would you take, and why? And so the list is also a bit of a time capsule sent to us from the late 70's. The sort of people that are talked about include the Velvet Underground, Jackson Browne, the Kinks, the Ramones, Van Morrison, and the Stones. There are more!

Who is being talked is interesting of course but how they're talked about is just as interesting - the asides and the sketches of surrounding territory, the descriptions and personal anecdotes. Sometimes you might say it's overdone but mostly it reflects a dialogue between an artist and an intelligent listener.

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